Work, Santosha, and the Bahgavad Gita

November 2, 2010

This post is more of a conglomerate of thoughts on questions in the homework regarding expectations, samtosha, and the Bhagavad Gita. There were so many things in my head when I wrote this so I apologize if it seems all over the place.

These past few weeks at work have been strange. I am counting down the hours by 2pm. I really cant stand working till 5. I feel like I have no time to do what I want to after work, and I am drained working under these circumstances. Besides that, my workplace has just been so wishy washy in terms of rules, leadership, and overall contentment as a staff. Some days are better than others, but that makes it even harder because I come in expecting things to finally be better, but it’s not. My boss is a sweet lady but she is getting caught up in lying to us, and doing things that are very unprofessional with the staff. It’s draining for everyone and we are beginning to show it more and more. What is bothering me the most is I used to be such a positive force here, and I felt like I was almost untouchable by the negative stuff others would say, but lately I haven’t lived up to my own expectations. Everyday I get off and I am so relieved to be gone, but I get a little upset at myself for not being happy, and for not acting like everything is fine for the kids and parents. I hate masks. I am not a good pretender. The one thing I keep going over and over is “What would I do if I knew this is where I am supposed to be right now?”. I do believe that each experience in life can either be dismissed or taken as a learning opportunity. I try to do the latter, but lately I feel like maybe it’s just time to move on a lot of the time.

I feel like there is stagnation, and I am craving change.

I am wishing for things to be different. In the book Lovingkindness, Sharon Salzburg writes “Our vision becomes very narrow when we need things to be a certain way and cannot accept things the way they actually are.” I don’t know if I unaccepting, or if I am just acknowledging that there is a problem and am ready to move on to save myself from depression and stress.

Am I am imagining that the grass is always greener, and that my situation would be so much better if I worked somewhere else?


But who knows right? I know that I want to work for someone who is a good leader, and for a place that is crawling with inspiration and opportunities to grow. But, since I don’t have anything lined up, what am I supposed to learn here at this job? And when will it be time for me to move on in a peaceful way? I am caught between two opposing views. One view says, “Ok, so this is your job right now, and you should do the best you can, and come from a place of unattachment to the negative things that happen..or to the positive ones for that matter”.

In the Bahgavad-Gita Chapter 2.47-48, it says “You have a right to your actions, but never to your actions’ fruits. Act for the action’s sake. And do not be attached to inaction. Self possessed, resolute, act without any thought to results; open to success or failure. This equanimity is yoga.” I understand that the attachment to things in general is where we create suffering because everything is subject to change, but this verse creates a sort of itch I can’t quite scratch; it also makes me feel confused and bewildered at how I would even go about being so detached from my work and my feelings.

A conflicting belief to this “being with what I have-santosha”, is what I have applied to my life via the movie The Secret. I have lived the past 4 years believing that I live in a reality that I create. I still believe this. I also have used the Law of Attraction to create more in my life-whether it was intending to find the perfect house, the perfect partner, the right opportunity, the right job, and even new friends. And these things have come, even material things like furniture, and cars. I just can’t imagine being so unattached that I don’t have any control over my life anymore, and allowing myself to “act without any thought of result”, just doesn’t quite melt my cheese. I want to enjoy my work, and maybe I am being too literal, like Michelle noted as she patted us all on the head during the discussion of the BG, but I feel like there is a fine line between having intention in your work, but having no thought on the outcome. It seems like one would become numb. I am ready to get a new job, and I have tried to find ways to be ok with the way things are, but I am still dying to get out of there 2 hours before I actually leave, and just find myself shaking my head all the time at the things that happen. It’s hard. So…do I stay…trying my best to be unattached? Try my best to be a light, be a source of love and joy? or do I intend to get a new job that inspires me, and adds some joy, and light to my life? This is where I come to a crossroads. I see a stale comfort even though I am wanting change. I am asking for some help here, Goddess? Send me some strength and guidance to do what is best right now in this life.


3 Responses to “Work, Santosha, and the Bahgavad Gita”

  1. Leili Says:

    Gosh, how difficult. I can tell that you enjoy your work, but the job itself is not so enjoyable right now. Like I said in my email, I really appreciated Richard Freeman’s description of karma yoga…that the work itself becomes art. In this way, perhaps detachment is a very alive thing — detachment isn’t about checking out, but rather letting go of the results of the action in exchange for an attentiveness in the action itself. For example, I’m going to put paintbrush to paper and just paint without worrying if my art is good or not. Or I’m going to feel my way through the process of the asana rather than trying to get to the finish line of each pose.

    I’ve been trying to consider my job through this lens of santosha. Kind of strange when we typically do a job with the intent of producing some sort of result, right? :] The way I’ve started to think about it is a lot like the advice my mom has given me so many times — just do your best, and let go of the rest. Just do your best knowing that you can’t control how other people act or how they do their jobs.

    Looking forward to seeing you tomorrow!

  2. I totally get the questioning of where you are and why…and is this where I am supposed to be? In Richard Freeman’s discussion of the Gita, he talks at one point of that dualistic conflict. Do i push harder and work harder in my practice? which risks injury, right? or am i playing it too safe and not pushing hard enough or at all such that I am missing out on the richness offered by the hard work? how do we know when this is the place I am supposed to be or am i being complacement and accepting a bad situation? i don’t think we know really. I think it is a constant stuggle – that is the duality. I think that is what he was saying with any action there is imperfection…you will never get a completely perfect solution. I know you have said many times how wonderful your job is and how awesome the kids are and how on it you felt. You glowed and beamed and radiated joy. that is there. I guess the question you have to ask is whether your growth can continue where you are? can you make art out of your work? Wise Leili made that point in her comment. Knowing that running from this job to another is not going to bring you happiness and enlightenment. It isn’t the job itself that does that…it is doing the job without expectation…without requiring or desiring the ego-fulfillment. it is doing the work for the sake of the work – for the art of it. That is not to say that moving on is a wrong or bad thing…just make sure you aren’t attaching more to it…I will be happy once i find the perfect job…those expectations won’t be met.
    you are an amazingly gifted creature Sierra! see you friday xoox

    • Thank You ladies. I ended up writing that before I listened to The Yoga Matrix and I see now exactly what you are saying, and what he is saying. It’s so funny how life’s lessons during this process of YTT aligns so well with each other. It seems like we are all experiencing this.
      I do find joy in my work, and try to do my best, and I think I have become more like that in the past few years where I want to be a positive force around me. It’s an interesting thing to think about working without attachment to the outcome, but I guess if the intention is always pure and in the moment, the outcome will be ok. I realize that no job will ever be perfect, but I guess I am wondering if, like Traci said, I can grow here anymore? I am not making any hasty decisions, but it sure is stirring up some emotions. Thanks for your insight and encouragement ladies.

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